I spent a lot of last year banging on about issues of internal party organisation within the Liberal Democrats on this blog and elsewhere. So much so that I decided that I ought to put my money where my mouth was and stand for election to the Federal Executive. So I did.
In the ballot of conference representatives I managed to secure 23 first preferences and receive some transfers of other preferences up until I was excluded at stage 15 of the count. I was quite pleased with this as it is the first time I’ve stood in a Federal election, I am not exactly “famous” within the Party, and this year I was up against what I thought was a strong field of other candidates.
Given that I am a councillor and am eligible I thought I would have another go in the ballot of councillors on principal local authorities. Here there was less competition and I got a pleasing 122 first preferences. But this was also not enough to get me elected.
If you want to see the full details of the election results they can be found here.
Why do I mention all this? Well partly as therapy to help me deal with my disappointment (or lucky escape). Partly so when I carry on moaning and complaining about how the Party is run or the daftness of some decision or other and someone says to me “why don’t you do something about it then?” I can reply “well, I did try!”. And partly to say a very big thank you to all those who were kind enough to vote for me.
But mainly I am writing about this now because I can! The rules under which the elections are conducted explicitly say that using websites or email to campaign is not allowed. So not wanting to fall foul of the returning officer I avoided mentioning anything about my candidacy on this blog. This was slightly awkward as one of the reasons I have for running this blog is so I can talk about party organisational issues. I would like to have written posts explaining, probably in more detail than required, why I wanted to be on the FE, what I would have hoped to achieve there, and what things that body should be doing.
As any true democrat knows, part of the point of elections is the debate they create over the choices that the electorate have to make. I doubt whether being able to write about my candidacy here would have helped me to gain many extra votes, but I am annoyed that as a candidate I was prevented from contributing to a debate about the future direction of the Party.
Can I suggest to those of you who have been elected to serve on the FE for the next two years that one of the things you do in that time is review the regulations related to internal elections to see if they really are serving the Party’s best interests.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.